We have all heard that one of the main excuses given for people not doing exercise is that they simply do not have enough time – people will often priortise work or family commitments over their own health – despite the fact that without their health they are no good either to their work or their family!
Most people tend to think of exercise as a means to losing weight, or maintaining a certain fitness level and of course a healthy lifestyle – but it is now realised just how important exercise is for improved productivity in the workplace.
There is a common belief that doing exercise releases a rush of the ‘feel good’ endorphins, and although there is actually little hard scientific evidence of this, anybody who has done a really hard workout or done a great run will certainly vouch for this – you don’t always need scientific proof to know something works!
So how can such exercise helps with our workload??
It seems that exercise may give our body a better chance at dealing with stress (a big cause of weight gain and lack of productivity). Exercise can force the body’s physiological systems to ‘communicate’ better than without specific exercise – i.e the cardiovascular system talks to the renal system, which then talks to the muscular system and these are all controlled by our nervous systems, which must also communicate – what does this mean? – that the more sedentary we are the less efficient our bodies are in responding to stress.
Research from the University of Bristol showed that after exercising during working hours, participants “returned to work more tolerant of themselves and forgiving of their colleagues” – plus they had better performance shown by improved time management and better mental sharpness. This shows that it is more than just the feel good response but a physiological one. So, if companies provided their staff with this exercise ability, they should get in return more efficient employees, happier in themselves, working better together plus a reduction in sick days and greater attendance and attitude, thereby reducing costs and improving productivity, even if there is a reduction in hours worked, as shown in a recent Swedish study, where workers were given 2.5 hours a week to exercise, resulting in better productivity with less hours.
Further evidence is put forward by Dr John Ratey (an author and psychiatry professor) – there is a protein called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), and when secreted it boosts brain cell growth and strengthens cell to cell connections. This, it is thought leads to increased learning capacity – and guess what triggers this release of BDNF – that’s right – EXERCISE! This also works more efficiently when the exercise is combined with cognitive tasks, hence increased productivity after your lunch time exercise class, and a better time for decision making as well perhaps?!
So, exercise will help you to be more focused and think clearly, plus enhance your learning ability as well as the fact it can boost your mood and in turn reduce stress and relieve anxiety…when you put all this together imagine two people going for the same job – one exercises the other doesn’t, who do you reckon may have the better attitude/mindset and therefore chance of getting the job (all other factors being the same?)….it’s about looking after your body AND your brain, and getting along that career path quicker (and having more fun along the way!)
Here at Isowhey HO I have been teaching exercise classes for the last few months, (see pic below), I have simply turned an office area into a gym, I got some dumbells, a skipping rope and a couple of fitballs and hey presto a Circuit class is born! I also teach Yoga and Pilates on other days. So many workplaces could also implement this type of exercise system into their office space and I’m sure would see a great improvement in their staff morale. Having to go to the gym after work really eats into your own time, and by the time you get there, and get home and eat it’s time for bed!
SO, by offering this type of activity in the daytime, means no more
“I just don’t have the time” excuse!
What do you think? Does your employer offer any type of exercise allowance? and if they did would you use it?…
*IsoWhey employees completing a work ‘Cardio Challenge’